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Like Lemming to the sea…All of us at Bucknuts know there is something off with "The Mailman", self-proclaimed national recruiting guru and tireless self-promoter, Tom Lemming. He is an unabashed homer for Notre Dame, yet denies any favoritism. He derides kids for committing early and then pretends it has nothing to do with the fact that the early commits affect his business. Every year, the evidence mounts that Tom is guiding kids to Notre Dame and talking kids out of commitments to help with his commercial media play.
Well, this year, the hot water reached boiling and the Lemming meringue is showing on the Mailman's mug. After a close brush with being undressed in past years, it got worse in 2005. The following is an article addressing the particulars:
WASHINGTON — One of the nation's top high school football players from last season says prominent recruiting analyst Tom Lemming told him he would be "showcased" and would increase his chances of being most valuable player in the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school all-star game "if I kept a certain school on my (recruiting) list."
Myron Rolle, a Princeton, N.J., defensive back who already has enrolled at Florida State, made the remarks Monday morning to a public forum on the "Collegiate Athlete Experience" conducted at George Washington University by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. They came in response to a question about the recruiting process and also were carried live on a webcast. Approached afterward by USA TODAY, Rolle said the school in question was Notre Dame and reiterated his comments about Lemming, a national recruiting expert from Chicago whose information is used extensively by this newspaper.
"He told me if I kept Notre Dame in mind, the NBC (TV) guy would interview me and they would showcase me during the game," Rolle said. NBC, which showed the high school game in San Antonio on Jan. 7, also has a contract for Notre Dame home games. Added Rolle: "He told me I'd have a higher chance of being MVP. I took it as having less of a chance of getting MVP if I didn't keep Notre Dame on my list."
Rolle, who did not list Notre Dame among his six finalists, said Lemming told him this last spring. He also said Lemming tried to interest him in schools other than FSU, something he originally told ESPN The Magazine last summer. "He stepped out of the bounds of what he should be doing," said Rolle, who added that recruiting analysts should simply be gathering information.
He did not make first- or second-team USA TODAY All-USA. He is, however, currently the No. 1 prospect on ESPN.com. Lemming's No. 1 is Chris Wells, an Akron, Ohio, running back who is expected to sign with Ohio State and was MVP in the U.S. Army game. Rolle said Wells deserved to be MVP.
Forget the questions we all have about the star systems for recruits. The real problem is when the recruiting analysts think that they are the stars…
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First for the second time…That is, I think this has been brought up before, but no one here (going through the archives…) can find any time in recruiting history when Ohio State landed the No. 1 football recruit in the nation. The Buckeyes have him this year in Chris Wells of Akron Garfield. Pretty neat, eh?
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Fielding a team…One way to measure how successful a recruiting season is (at least in the tired eyes of this quasi-authority…) is to gauge the dispersion of talent at all positions. That is, if you have six five-star nose tackles, it might add up to a "great class" on paper, but it doesn't help you win games. Unless one of those nose tackles is also a great quarterback…To that end, let's use the "cover the positions" litmus test to check out Coach Tressel's ability to recruit all positions: Tailback: Chris Wells Fullback: Aram Olson Quarterback: Antonio Henton Wide receivers: Ray Small Tight ends/offensive linemen: Jake Ballard, Andy Miller, Connor Smith and Bryant Browning Defensive ends: Robert Rose and Walter Dublin Defensive tackle: Dexter Larimore Linebackers: Ross Homan, Tyler Moeller, Mark Johnson, Thaddeus Gibson and Larry Grant Safeties: Aaron Gant and Grant Schwartz Cornerbacks: Kurt Coleman and Chimdi Chekwa In other words, almost ideal. If Chichester hadn't lost his spot (or if we had gotten Lyons, Matthews or McDaniel), and if Joe Thomas or Aaron Brown had come aboard, it would have hit every position. Plus, model Mark Johnson as a defensive end and move Dublin inside and…well, you get the picture.
* * * * *A full and gushing pipeline at Glenville…For those who think that Glenville has become a preparatory academy for OSU football, it is noteworthy to consider that the Tarblooders produced seniors that received 21 scholarships out of their last high school class! That is an incredible figure. Equally incredible is that 15 of them went to Division I schools and eight went to Big Ten schools (including three to Ohio State). An outstanding performance by Glenville, no doubt. But let's give it up for the guy who takes occasional criticism – in some circles. That's Ted Ginn Sr. He has 21 kids going to school on rides – in an area where too many kids seem to be going to the streets to look for work…
* * * * *And for the second time, a first…And we couldn't find anywhere in recorded Ohio State history where the Buckeyes landed the consensus No. 1 basketball player in the country, either. Next year, they will bring in Greg Oden from Lawrence North High School in Indiana. Also, a pretty neat time for the Buckeyes, eh?
* * * * *Sittin' round the Roundtable…It's a good thing I don't get paid for this job, as I am having entirely too much fun. More evidence to that thesis came a week ago when I hosted the first-ever "Bucknuts Recruiting Roundtable". This immodest effort corralled Duane Long, Dave Biddle, the Kirkster, Steve Helwagen and me to cuss and discuss recruits and recruiting methods. We then brought on national guru Allan Wallace from California and the head of Scout.com's recruiting operation from Atlanta. Finally, we tied in that old maverick, Gary Housteau for his unique opinions. Yes, there was some of the same-old same-old, but mostly it was a spirited discussion; kind of like you would have in a bar, without the distractions or the inevitable fist fights. Look for the next internet-only-radio-format "Bucknuts Recruiting Roundtable" coming to you on March 16. We will have Duane Long and Bill Conley face off and we hope to debut that desert rat, Nevada Buck. Stay tuned…
* * * * *And for the final time, two firsts…So after speculating on Chris Wells and Greg Oden coming in (in the same year), has any school ever had the #1 basketball player and #1 football player come in – in the same year? I don't think so… It's a great time to be a Buckeye. And the recruits seem to agree! And if you agree, or disagree, and want to be heard about it, follow that heard instinct to Mr. Bucknuts at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com